As the following will show, and after repeated attempts at contacting Mr. Hertzfeldt himself, I had to “make up” the following interview, though, that notwithstanding, that doesn’t mean Don didn’t say these things. Hey, me no plagiarizer. Thanks to Rob, for pointing me in the right way. I’ve included the intro questions, which, though now scrapped, still make me chuckle. The “actual” interview, such that it is, follows that.
Don, Let’s pretend like we’re sitting across from one another at a nice dark dive bar in the Valley, sipping, chatting, chuckling like men with beards and pipes and corduroy coats with patches. Let’s pretend that these words won’t be seen by millions of fans hungry for gossip and innuendo about The World’s Most Famous Unknown Interviewer and his next Everest to topple: you, Don Hertzfeldt, ok?
Interview With Don Hertzfeldt
Me: So, I hate interview-related questions, but I have to ask, How is the Animation Show’s 2nd season looking so far? And can you give a bit of background about how T.A.S. came about?
Me: Alright, alright, don’t throw your apple martini at me yet, we have a ways to go. Garçon, 2 double Doer’s, Heineken backs. OK, how about this: being as busy as you are touring with the Animation Show around most of North America, how do you find time to animate & shoot your stuff? You do it all by hand, right? I mean, there’s no all-most-naked-teen-girls Bitter Films staff in Indonesia cranking out Rejected Again as we speak, right?
Me: I see, so massages are like animation after all. Hmmm…I have met quite a Bitter Films fanbase here in Japan, people who ask questions like, “If Don could have anyone cook him anything, anywhere, what would it be, with whom and where?”
Me: 3’s a Crowd, Mister. What about, what animal represents you and why? Or better yet, what animal would you be if you could, mythical or otherwise?
Me: Favorite Comic? Favorite Comic gone Big Screen?
Me: Sexiest female cartoon character? Do you get aroused by saucer-eyed buxom manga ladies?
Me: Word on the street is that you are into plants. Does that include cacti or are succulents too “dry” for Santa Barbara’s “wet” climate? Also, best plant story.
Me: Ever wrote a song, entered a slam poetry contest, played beach volleyball, urinated in public, held an odd animal in an odd way?
Me: Any cd,movie, book, comic, cuisine, country recommendations?
Me: Any words to live by, famous last words, hidden mantras, the secret of Tom Cruise’s success?
Me: For the record, who wins a fight between ninjas and samurai?
Me: Well, thanks Mister. I hope the tour goes well and I can’t wait for The Animation Show Vol. II to come out on DVD so we can see it over here in the biggest Animation market in the world. Good luck with your plants.
Academy Award © nominated director Don Hertzfeldt’s animated short films have collected over one hundred awards and an international cult following. His films have been featured at the Cannes Film Festival, Sundance, MTV, IFC, Bravo, Comedy Central, and in over a thousand theatrical venues around the world.
Don’s my friend. No really. We’re such good friends, he doesn’t even feel the need to take my calls or emails. He’s just busy. Right? So, in the name of friendship, I, Manny Santiago, undertake the task of speaking on behalf of the busiest animator this side of the pacific. (Sorry Mr. Miyazaki, Howl was great but, you’re old news).
Heso: Don, You’re currently busy as all heck with getting Vol. II of The Animation Show out on DVD by late summer, I know. So what, if anything, are you working on, after 4 years of intense work on The Meaning of Life?
Don: I did a bad comic strip a few years ago called Temporary Anesthetics, one good thing came out of it though and that was a character named Bill…and the new film is Bill’s film. He has quickly become my favorite character to write for, meanwhile…we will very very soon begin work on Bitter Films: Vol. 1: the dvd.
H: Rock on. I remember various conversations we’ve had and somehow they’ve always managed to meander back to music, specifically, REM. Does music of any kind figure in the mental process of starting a new project?
D: Central concept comes first… and lately music sometimes has been coming first. Then scribbles and storyboards and the outlines of a structure but, when you work largely solo there is very little info that you have to share with others, as in having to write a traditional script… ..so most of it is in my head or scattered around the floor on post-it-notes
H: Like the women in my life. So, you’ve been quoted as saying, “This may be the best short I ever make.” Where did the idea come from? Also, you using any computers these days to animate any of the especially painstaking scenes in MOL?
D: I’m not sure where the film came from..but, a central scene was something I’ve wanted to animate for maybe 10 years and never had a place for it (also I didn’t think it would be possible to do without computers), though eventually discovered I could do it without computers, albeit it would take 4 years…and quite a few brain cells. It was a very rough time…but I don’t think any of the new film’s space shots would look nearly as good as if they were done in a computer, granted it took me 10x as long to create them on film traditionally (with pinhole lights and diffusion and stuff), but there’s something about real light hitting a real camera lens that I’ve never seen a computer able to simulate. I think we’ll have a disclaimer at the end of the film, “no computers were used in the photography or animation of this motion picture.”
H: OK, what about Mike? Is he still involved creatively? Financially? Or is Rob (the extremely able-bodied plethora of voices in many of Don’s films) funding everything with armies of Chinese Triads & Yakuza extortionists?
D: Of course Mike is still involved! It’s his money we are spending… and he programmed everything with me again: the entire show – and I’m not exaggerating – is all thanks to Mike’s enduring faith and support. He stopped in to say hello in LA and Seattle and Vancouver… but lately he has been very busy with his new feature film, coming out in August.
H: So before we go, what distracts you the most working in “the industry”?
D: I am frequently distracted by invisible bats and miniature toads.